Riding the B Line: Back Again at Yatagan

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Somewhere in the world there may be a train line that covers more gastronomic territory than the B and V subway lines, which start in southernmost Brooklyn and end deep in Queens, but if there is, we don’t know about it. For the next twenty-odd weeks, we’ll be riding the B and V from Coney Island all the way to Forest Hills, jumping off frequently to rave about our favorite restaurants and food stores near the subway.

This Week: West 4th Street

The eternal battle: Man vs. Wad.
The eternal battle: Man vs. Wad.hahaPhoto: Melissa Hom

So much to look at near the West 4th Street station! There’s the former site of KFC–Taco Bell, home to the most notorious rat infestation in recent history; the most over-storied basketball court in the city; a series of winding, student-crowded streets; and the best doner-kebab sandwich in New York City at Yatagan Kebab House.

Walk down West 3rd, hang a right on Macdougal, and you will be confronted with a massive rotating wad of glistening lamb. Unlike the other wads on the street, this one isn’t a preformed mass of chopped mystery meat; it’s genuine lamb breast and shoulder, ground fresh every day, its layers interspersed with whole slices of lamb. Turning endlessly, in its slow, hypnotic orbit, the lamb acquires a brown crust, which when sliced onto a fresh pita and dressed with crisp thick onions and a delicate white sauce, makes one of the city’s great street meals. The man who duels with the wad wields his machete in your service quickly; you’ll be back on the train in no time. Though after a doner sandwich like that, watching a game at the basketball cage might be just what you need.